Apr 11, 2024

Most children can deal with some occasional mistreatment by other kids. But it is difficult for most children to deal with sustained mistreatment on a regular basis for several years. Bullies enjoy harassing their victims on a regular basis and that needs to stop.

That is why I find it difficult to understand when some adults say that kids just need to learn to ignore it and keep moving forward. The point is that a child can probably do that once in a while, but when it happens a lot and on a regular basis, it is difficult to ignore, and it starts affecting their emotional well-being. And if a child is not feeling well emotionally, it is extremely difficult for him or her to focus on school work.

Even many adults are not able to ignore bullying and harassment on a regular basis. That is why we hear a lot these days about bullying and harassment in the workplace. When even adults are not able to ignore consistent mistreatment, how can we expect young children to be able to ignore such behavior from others?

That is why it is critical for all school staff and parents to understand that schools must provide a bully-free environment for all children. It is not acceptable for schools to just establish a “bullying prevention” program and assume that all children will be safe. It is critical to make sure that the final goal of “bully-free” environment is achieved.

Apr 04, 2024

Bullying and harassment in the workplace is impacting a lot of people across the country, significantly affecting their personal lives on a regular basis. This is not something that should be ignored. Bullying and harassment in the workplace must be prevented.

Most employees expect a certain minimum level of professionalism in all interpersonal communications at the workplace. They typically work hard with dedication and they expect to be treated fairly. If a worker fails to perform at the expected level on a continuous basis, then he or she can be asked to leave the company. That option is always available to the employer. But there is no reason whatsoever to treat that person or anyone else with disrespect. In other words, it is appropriate for all employees to expect a bully-free environment.

That is the main point I try to make whenever I make a presentation based on my book “How to stand up to workplace bullying and take on an unjust employer”. Consistent bullying and harassment can have significant negative impact on the employees, in terms of their emotional wellbeing. No employees deserve that. It is heartening to know that most Human Resource departments across the country seem to understand that it is important to maintain a positive workplace environment. It does take some training and effort, but treating all employees with respect typically always works out to be positive for the organization.

Mar 28. 2024

A strong emotional health and a positive self-image are key ingredients for overall success in life. If a child is concerned about having to deal with bullying on a regular basis, it is difficult for the child to focus on the positive aspects of school and social life. Bullying must be prevented.

For academic success of all students it is critical to maintain a safe and nurturing environment for all children. When we talk about a safe environment for children we must include discussions about creating and maintaining an atmosphere in schools where ALL children can feel free to be themselves and learn most effectively at their own pace. If a child has to face negative environment on a regular basis, it can lead to long lasting negative impact far beyond the school years. There should be a constant focus on developing and maintaining a school culture that has three key objectives – acceptance of differences in people around you, being kind and respectful to others as opposed to negative behavior such as bullying, and focusing on self-acceptance so you can achieve success in life.

I try to make these points through some of my presentations based on my book titled “A Life Interrupted – the story of my battle with bullying and obsessive compulsive disorder”. The most unique aspect of this book is the focus on a definitive connection between bullying and its long-term psychological impact. This is an extremely serious issue that often goes unnoticed and undetected during school years. Prolonged bullying can trigger devastating long-lasting mental illness and that impact can torment a victim long after the school years are over. It is important to develop and maintain a school culture where everyone learns to respect others because mistreatment can cause serious life-long impact.

Mar 21, 2024

Every organization must assign someone as the officer responsible for maintaining a bully-free environment. For larger companies it is typically the responsibility of the Human Resources department. In smaller companies, it can be the CEO/Owner or someone assigned by him/her.

However, the person responsible must have a thorough understanding of how bullying and harassment can impact the employees. He or she must also understand that there can be serious consequences for the organization if incidents of bullying and harassment are not addressed adequately. That is why it is important for the responsible person to go through some appropriate training on this issue so he or she can be successful in performing this task.  I have experience with a Human Resources Director who was not very proficient in handling issues of this nature.

The main point is that the person must be able to put in appropriate processes and procedures to be able to handle any complaints from employees and then follow through rigorously in a timely manner. It is important for employees to develop a trust that any complaints will be taken seriously and appropriate investigations will be conducted according to the established processes. It is not good for the companies if the employees feel that no one cares about these issues and if they believe that they will face some form of retaliation if they made a complaint.

Mar 14, 2024

When I speak to children about how bullying triggered obsessive compulsive disorder for me, impacting my life significantly, most of them do understand the possible terrifying impact of bullying, and many change their behaviors appropriately. I have received messages from them.

I believe that they understand very clearly that:

  • If you treat someone poorly, the impact on that person can be very serious
  • It’s okay to be different
  • If someone is bullied in school, that person can suffer for many years even after school years are over

I have also noticed that:

  • Students are able to connect with me easily because I have gone through this myself – I am not a parent or an anti-bullying expert – I speak from my heart about this issue
  • Students who are being bullied see a strong example of how one can survive in spite of having to go through this difficult phase
  • Everyone loves my discussion of the encounter I had in my adult years with a past bully because it provides a perspective on why bullies do what they do
  • Students who do the bullying connect with me since they see that I can understand what they might be going through, because of the discussion on my encounter with a past bully. Many of these bullies do not realize how badly their actions can impact the victims. Once they understand the possible impact, most of them are able to stop their negative behavior.

Mar 07, 2024

It is critical for all organizations to make sure that their employees feel comfortable in their work environment. It is a responsibility that must be taken seriously by all companies. Bullying and/or harassment of employees must not be tolerated.

It starts with the number 1 person in the organization, i.e., the CEO or the owner, whatever the case may be. It is most important for this person to set the tone for the organization – he or she needs to establish right from the beginning that bullying and/or harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated. Once that priority is in place, it is then up to the next level management to act accordingly.

One of the ways to effectively create and maintain a bully-free organization is to encourage all employees to bring forward any bullying or harassment issues without any worries of negative consequences. And the next step is to follow through on the complaints and talk with the appropriate people involved with the complaint and discuss reasonable action plans. Most employees will feel positive about the fact that their complaints were being taken seriously.

It does take some managerial time and energy to adequately follow through on these matters, but it is an organizational responsibility and needs to be taken seriously. No employees deserve to be bullied or harassed. If they are not performing as required, then they can receive an appropriate performance evaluation and follow-up actions as needed, but that is different from bullying and harassment.

Feb 29, 2024

Many people still do not seem to understand that impact of bullying at a young age can torment the victim for the rest of his or her life. That is why it is important to continue the effort to maintain focus on this issue.

It is most important for parents, caregivers, and all school staff to understand that all children must be provided with a safe and non-threatening environment. No child should have to face any kind of mistreatment from bullies. Children depend on adults to take care of them – it is the responsibility of the adults to make sure that bullying is not permitted in any form.

Especially the schools must put this as their highest priority. It does not matter how good a teacher is or how important a specific class is, children are not able to pay attention if there is always a fear of being bullied. If schools truly believe in making sure that every child gets a quality education, then it must pay attention to creating and maintaining a safe and positive culture where everyone is respected.

Schools have a responsibility to make sure that every student has the opportunity to learn in a non-threatening environment. When a child faces bullying on a regular basis, then it not only impacts his or her education, but even more importantly it can have a serious mental health impact for many years to come. Schools must take responsibility to make sure that this kind of mistreatment is not permitted.

Feb 23, 2024

I understand that for some victims of workplace bullying it might seem difficult to do anything about it. But not doing anything at all can become extremely stressful and can have significant impact on personal lives.

I am aware that there are people who are putting up with a lot of bullying and harassment at their workplace but are not willing to do anything about it because they believe that if they take any actions they would likely lose their jobs and they wouldn’t know where to go to find another job. I can understand that as a valid concern. However, I do believe that almost everyone can take the simple step of bringing it up to management simply as an issue that the employee would like to discuss because this is affecting the employee’s personal life. The idea would be to bring it up in a positive manner in a constructive approach. There are times when the employer might actually try to do something about this since it was brought up not as a complaint but more as a constructive request.

If nothing comes out of this, then after a few weeks or months, the employee can go back to the employer again and make it a bit stronger than the first time around. The most important thing is to maintain documentation of the efforts the employee makes to demonstrate that the employee was trying his or her best to resolve this in a peaceful manner. Escalating the matter in a step-by-step approach is one of the best ways to handle the situation (and maintaining documentation along the way).

In a case like this, if the employee does get terminated, he or she will have documentation to show that sincere efforts were made by the employee to resolve this in a positive and constructive manner. This can then be taken to the appropriate government department (such as Department of Human Rights) for resolution. It will also be useful in case it does become a lawsuit.

Feb 15, 2024

The purpose of bullying is to exert control over another person. That is why it often transforms into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for the victim because OCD acts like an internal bully trying to exert control over the victim. Bullying must be prevented.

For a typical bully controlling someone else is the most important objective. Of course there is another important factor that keeps these bullies going – that is the reaction of the bystanders. Often the bystanders are directly or indirectly encouraging the bullies to make fun of innocent victims. And that provides added incentive for the bullies to continue mistreating innocent individuals. But exerting control over others is probably the primary motivation for the bullies to continue this mistreatment. That is why ignoring the bully works the best because it defies the control that the bully seeks to exert. But that is easier said than done.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tortures the victims in a somewhat similar manner. It forces the victims to do something (that they do not want or like to do) because otherwise something very bad will happen. Here too the key is to find a way to ignore what OCD is asking the victim to do and live with the associated anxiety. But a victim needs a lot of help to be able to do that. Fortunately there are professionals around who are able to help with this practice. It is possible to achieve recovery through medication and therapy. But it can certainly disrupt the victims’ lives significantly for many long years. Nobody deserves this.

Feb 09, 2024

There can be many reasons why a manager/supervisor bullies one or more of the employees. But whatever the reasons may be, it always points to the ineffectiveness of the person in the role of a manager or a supervisor. This person simply should not be in a managerial position.

All good managers and supervisors realize that each employee is an individual and likely has his or her own characteristics and personalities. It is likely that what works as a successful motivational approach for one employee may not be the right approach for other employees. It is possible that some employees are used to being subjected to yelling and shouting, and they might get motivated when the manager uses that kind of motivational technique. However, for most employees yelling and shouting do not work. Most employees look at this as verbal abuse and as a demotivating factor. Work becomes extremely stressful for them and it starts affecting their personal lives.

A good manager is able to figure out what approach works best as a motivating factor for each and every employee and uses an individualized approach, instead of one approach for all. Quite often a reasonable sensitive but firm approach works for most employees. All employees know that they are there to do the work and they get paid for doing their jobs well. If someone cannot perform his or her job function, then there are other ways to manage their performance, but yelling and shouting is never an answer.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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